Hot Stove roundup: Rays keep middle infield intact
Zobrist, Escobar back in Tampa Bay for 2014; Red Sox decline option on Thornton
With the deadline for exercising or declining options looming at 5 p.m. ET on Monday, teams continued to make those decisions Saturday. Below is a recap of those moves, plus news on the Mariners' managerial search and more.
• The Rays will bring back their same middle infield in 2014 after picking up options on second baseman Ben Zobrist and shortstop Yunel Escobar. However, they still must decide whether to do the same for outfielder David DeJesus and reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo.
• The Red Sox declined a team option on reliever Matt Thornton, while two of the team's free agents -- first baseman Mike Napoli and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia -- would like to return. In other news, second baseman Dustin Pedroia soon will undergo surgery on his left thumb after playing the whole season with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.
• Joey Cora is among a handful of finalists to become the Mariners' new manager.
• Roger McDowell will return as pitching coach of the Braves after signing a new two-year deal.
• As expected, the Giants declined their option on pitcher Barry Zito, according to the MLB Players Association. Zito becomes a free agent after completing his seven-year contract with San Francisco, which also declined an option on outfielder Andres Torres.
• Also per the MLBPA, the Orioles declined their option on lefty Tsuyoshi Wada, who underwent Tommy John surgery after signing a two-year deal before the 2012 season and never appeared in a game for Baltimore.